We all know that texting and driving is a problem. But now that Snapchatting has become a smartphone sensation, this latest app can lead to some serious consequences when done behind the wheel. The application, which allows users to “snap” a photo or short video of themselves, and then share it with friends – who can only view the item for a few seconds until it is deleted by the application – has become a hit among social media users.

Snapchat’s popularity is based, in part, on its simplicity. There’s nothing complex about snapping a quick photo and sending it off to a friend. Snapchatting is easier and more basic even than texting. Low performance anxiety when snapchatting, combined with its ability to quickly connect users, makes it a favorite among young people. While the app has quickly risen in the ranks to one of the most highly used, it may be unexpectedly creating a traffic hazard, as more and more people are snapchatting while driving.

Snapchat Statistics

According to a March 2016 report composed and published by DMR, there are 100 million daily active Snapchat users. Moreover, 18 percent of all social media users use Snapchat and 65 percent of those users contribute daily content.

Millennials are one of the most prominent age groups to use Snapchat, with the report suggesting that 30 percent of millennials access Snapchat regularly. In fact, 73 percent of Snapchat users are millennials. The percentage of the high school class of 2015 who use Snapchat daily is also large – 60 percent. Across the world, there are more than 8 billion Snapchat video views daily.

The most shocking statistic? The percentage of drivers who admit to using snapchat while operating a motor vehicle: 11 percent.

How the Snapchat App May Encourage Distracted Driving

It can be tempting to check your phone while behind the wheel. At any given moment in the United States, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cellphones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.

While many local and state governments – and even federal campaigns – have tried to mitigate the problem of cellphone use while driving, it appears that one feature of the Snapchat app may actually encourage distracted driving.

There is a filter on the app that allows users to record and post the speed at which they are traveling at the time that a photo is snapped. A person in a car can share with their friends that, at the time a picture is taken, the person is traveling at a certain speed. While the app is harmless when used by passengers, some drivers may be tempted to show off their speed.

Driving Is Already Dangerous Enough

Driving is already incredibly dangerous as it is, even when you are practicing safe driving techniques. You never know what another driver on the road is going to do. With more than 32,600 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2014 alone, doing everything possible to reduce your risk of being involved in a crash is imperative.

When thousands of pounds of steel that are traveling at high speeds crash into one another, the results can be catastrophic. While fatal injuries are the most tragic, spinal cord injuries, burn injuries, traumatic brain injuries, amputation injuries and others are all devastating as well.

Snapchatting while driving is dangerous because it is the trifecta of distractions – it is distracting manually (a driver must take at least one hand off of the wheel to access the app), visually (a driver must take their eyes off of the road to view a video or photos), and cognitively (a driver’s attention is drawn from the act of driving to the act of snapchatting). This distracting combination can be deadly. Reports that drivers in their 20s make up 38 percent of all drivers involved in fatal distracted driving crashes.

How to Protect Yourself: Don’t Snapchat and Drive

The Snapchat and driving statistics are scary. The fact that there are that many distracted drivers on the road is cause enough to make even the safest of drivers nervous when behind the wheel.
When you are driving, the best thing that you can do is to focus all of your attention on the act of driving. If you are tempted to Snapchat or otherwise use your phone, turn it off or put it in a location where you cannot access it while driving. Snapchatting while driving, or using your phone for any other purpose while driving, is incredibly dangerous.

Furthermore, you should always practice defensive driving techniques. Do not assume that other drivers will be as distraction-free as you are. Buckle up, pay attention to what is going on around you, and put plenty of distance between you and other vehicles whose drivers are behaving unsafely (swerving, tailgating, speeding, etc.).

What to Do If Distracted Driving Causes an Accident

Even when you practice defensive driving, avoiding an accident is not always possible. If you are involved in a crash caused by a distracted or otherwise negligent driver, the experienced car accident doctors at Chiromedix Accident & Rehab Centers want to meet with you to discuss your case. During your consultation, we will review the facts of your case and advise you regarding your health options. If we think we can help, we will work hard on your behalf to get you the care you deserve.

To schedule your consultation today, call our offices directly or fill out our online message/appointment form.